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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2011: Early start in Porto Cervo

September 07, 2011

A sharp start was the order of the day in Porto Cervo at the 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. After yesterday’s Mistral-inspired abandonment, this morning’s racing commenced at a prompt 10:30 CEST. With wind speeds predicted to rise dramatically across the day, Principal Race Officer Peter Craig warned: “It is an early start, or no start.” A flying start it was. A short and exciting coastal course of approx. 23.5-nautical miles was organised for all four classes: Mini Maxis, first starters, followed by the Maxis, Wally’s and Supermaxis. A decision greatly appreciated by all involved: the 47-strong fleet initially headed north of Porto Cervo round the Monaci outcrop before a ten-nautical mile tight, but downwind leg south past Mortoriotto island, round Soffi, and back up towards the finish off Porto Cervo. Conditions remained on the right side of testing. At the start, the breeze averaged between 23-24 knots, rising to 28 knots as the leaders hit the first windward mark.

Maxi fleet charging off Porto Cervo - Photo Credit  Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi fleet charging off Porto Cervo - Photo Credit Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi fleet action on Day 2 - Photo Credit  Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi fleet action on Day 2 - Photo Credit Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

The short course ensured a competitive challenge in all categories. Today’s winners included two of last year’s overall victors: Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 (GBR) in the Mini Maxi World Championship and Claus-Peter Offen’s Y3K (GER) in the Wally division. Other celebrating crews were: Highland Fling (MON) in the Racing Maxis; DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA) in the Racing/Cruising Maxi division and Nilaya (GBR) as the top Supermaxi. The fastest yacht on the water was the 100-ft Maxi Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), finishing the course in a rapid 1:45.36. Today’s featured division is the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.

Igor Simcic's ESIMIT EUROPA 2- Photo Credit  Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Igor Simcic's ESIMIT EUROPA 2- Photo Credit Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Niklas Zennström's RÁN 2 - Photo Credit  Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Niklas Zennström's RÁN 2 - Photo Credit Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Racing resumes; Rán 2 prevails

The winning habit is clearly hard to kick. Niklas Zennström’s 72-ft Rán 2 (GBR) is defending champion in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds and has famously claimed a second successive triumph at the Rolex Fastnet Race. Heading into the first race at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, anyone finishing ahead of Rán 2 would have had cause for celebration. Nobody did. Leading almost from the start, Zennström’s crew finished the course four minutes ahead of her nearest rivals – Andy Soriano’s Alegre (GBR). On corrected time it was Sir Peter Ogden’s 60-ft Jethou (GBR) which claimed second place. A terrific effort from one of the smaller Mini Maxis in attendance. With places in the coastal races scored in at a 1.5 multiple, this could prove a significant victory for Rán 2 as the upcoming windward/leewards are graded at one point per place.

Adrian Stead calls the tactics on Rán 2. He had some tough decisions today. “When you are the lead boat on the water, you’re the one that makes the decision first,” he explains, “and it is easier for the people behind to say ‘look that what’s happening, we will match them’. However, we had some good spinnaker changes and made a key jib change when we needed it.”

“It was a tricky race for us,” continues Stead, “but we came out of it well. The Race Committee have had a difficult task looking at the weather forecast. Yesterday was unsailable and they made a good call then, and a brilliant job getting a race in today before conditions became too extreme.”

Jethou has her own expert tactician. Step forward Brad Butterworth. “It is pretty hard for us to beat Rán,” admits the Kiwi who is a keen judge of competitiveness, “but we had a very good race, hitting 23-24 knots at one time.” Jethou made a fine start. “We were on the right hand side by the committee boat,” continues Butterworth, “we struggle to start fast down the line because being a smaller boat we get rolled over pretty quickly, but we started to windward and that worked out well, especially having a nice right hand shift all the way into the layline.” Owner Sir Peter Ogden was equally enthusiastic about the day’s racing: “It was an exciting race, no damage was done and we were right in amongst it. Hats off to the Race Committee for setting this course, we got wet and it was very exhilarating out there.” Jethou enjoys the stronger winds. “When we get light air, Alegre will disappear,” admits Ogden, “and Rán are hard to beat, they are a fully professional crew, we are mainly an amateur one.”

Andres Soriano's ALEGRE turning the lighthouse off Porto Cervo - Photo Credit  Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Andres Soriano's ALEGRE turning the lighthouse off Porto Cervo - Photo Credit Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

For Alegre, Rán 2’s closest rivals in 2010, third place is a springboard for the coming races. “It was a classic Sardinian day, good to sail a windy race. We did some good things and know what we can work on,” explains tactician Francesco de Angelis, “overall it was a positive race for us.” Alegre will undoubtedly be in the mix in the coming days.

Sail issues meant George Sakellaris’ 72-ft Shockwave (USA) had to settle for fourth place. It was a more positive day for two Italian crews. Riccardo de Michele’s H20 (ITA) will be delighted with a fifth place showing, the first of the Racer/Cruiser Mini Maxis, shortly ahead of Aleph (ITA). Onboard the 61-footer is the charismatic Vasco Vascotto: “It was a great day, everything looks good on our boat, when you are still alive in nearly 30 knots of breeze, you know it is a good race! We were lucky that the wind didn’t increase.” Vascotto’s Twitter feed was updated regularly during the race. Was he able to bark orders and entertain his legion of followers at the same time? The veritable multi-tasker. “It wasn’t me doing the tweeting,” he jokes, “but I have someone doing it, keeping all of our fans updated!”

Alexander Schaerer‘s 67-ft Caol Ila (USA) may not have ambitions to win the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds but she is far from prepared to simply make up the numbers. Brett Ellis, part of the afterguard, explains: “For us it went really well, we managed to hold our position up to the top end of the course before we took off down the coast. Despite not being a full-on performance boat, it is still nice to have some speed. We had no breakages, kept it conservative and came through the day in one piece. We had an interesting tussle with Stig and were probably in front for half of the course, although they snuck around inside us at the bottom and finished a boat’s length ahead of us.” The proverbial race within a race.

Maxi fleet rounding Monaci Island - Photo Credit  Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi fleet rounding Monaci Island - Photo Credit Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi

Coming up

Challenging conditions are again forecast for tomorrow. The Mini Maxi fleet is scheduled to take part in windward/leeward racing and that should throw up some new tactical headaches. Elsewhere, it is coastal racing on the agenda, and some interesting rivalries developing. Esimit Europa 2 and Highland Fling have the Maxi Racing division all to themselves. Quite literally. Igor Simcic’s crew were faster on the water today although Sir Irvine Laidlaw’s Wally-hybrid has the corrected time advantage. In the Wally division, Y3K took today’s bullet but cannot rest easy knowing the likes of Magic Carpet 2 (GBR) will sail her close. It is an open field. The same goes for the Supermaxi and Maxi Cruising/Racing division categories. Tomorrow should provide a clearer picture. Weather permitting.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2011: The Sardinian showcase

September 05, 2011

Tuesday marks the start of racing at the eagerly-anticipated 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. A typically extravagant week is in store: the 47-strong multinational fleet present at this year’s regatta is the second largest in the event’s history. These multifarious crews arrive on the back of some starkly contrasting seasons. Having tackled offshore endurance events such as the Giraglia Rolex Cup and the Rolex Fastnet Race, the campaign has been intense and, at times, gruelling for certain crews. For others, the build up to the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has been less strenuous and the sole focus has been to arrive in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in prime condition. One common theme unites all sailors in attendance: the desire to totally immerse themselves in the tantalising courses and scenery that penetrate the Costa Smeralda.

Porto Cervo, Sardinia - Photo By Rolex  Daniel Forster

Porto Cervo, Sardinia - Photo By Rolex Daniel Forster

The week in numbers

Racing takes place from 6-10 September and the 47 expected entrants is just shy of last year’s record of 49 yachts. Another impressive gathering for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), event organiser, in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA). The Mini Maxis (yachts from 18.29-24.08 metres) make up 17 of this year’s fleet and will compete in the second running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. This Championship comprises a maximum of eight races, with a scheduled minimum of four windward/leeward races and two coastal races of no more than 70-nautical miles.

The other Maxi categories are equally well represented, comprising 21 Maxi yachts (those from 24.09-30.5m) and nine Supermaxis (yachts in excess of 30.5m). Included in these figures, is a healthy array of 14 Wally yachts. For these classes the maximum number of races is seven, featuring a selection of coastal and windward/leeward courses.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010 Coastal Race - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010 Coastal Race - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Worlds in motion

The 72-foot Shockwave (USA) finished third at the inaugural Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds. That was under previous owner Neville Crichton. New owner, George Sakellaris, took possession shortly after and the handover was seamless as Reggie Cole, the boat captain, explains: “No major changes have taken place since last year aside from a change in sail makers and reconfiguring our sail plan somewhat. Many of our crew have participated at the Maxis before (including Sakellaris) and we maintain a core group who have done many events on this boat, including Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Key West Race Week, the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta and recently the Copa del Rey. We are anticipating a strong field and may the best team win.” At last year’s Rolex-sponsored Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Shockwave competed against both Rán (GBR) and Jethou (GBR), opponents in this year’s Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds.

Rán arrives in confident mood. Niklas Zennström’s 72-footeris fresh from claiming the overall prize at the Rolex Fastnet Race. No mean feat in itself: only Rán’s triumph marked a first back-to-back success at the event in over fifty years. What is more, as defending Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion, Rán starts off the coming week as the yacht to beat.

In 2010 Rán narrowly ousted Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR). A year on, the Mills 68 remains a highly competitive opponent. Alegre claimed a clean sweep of prizes at May’s  Rolex Volcano Race. These two crews are likely to be run close by Sir Peter Ogden’s 60-ft Jethou (GBR), another crew well-versed in the Porto Cervo sailing scene. Long-serving afterguard member, Ian Budgen, explains the crew’s approach to the event: “Preparations have been going well, and as a crew we feel completely ready to give our best. This regatta is the highlight of the racing season, so the earlier events are used to continually improve Jethou’s performance.”

It is often said that the Costa Smeralda offers the ‘perfect sailing package’ and Budgen is in agreement: “Porto Cervo is a fantastic place to sail and rated as one of the best in the world, with a mix of wind speeds, hot climate, crystal clear waters and stunning scenery. Unique are the coastal courses which comprise many islands to race around and through, making it very difficult for tacticians and navigators to plan the most efficient route coping with the diversity of the changing wind and rocky shorelines.” Jethou clearly mean business. In a rare turn up for this usually British crew, Brad Butterworth of New Zealand is onboard as tactician.

Only two yachts in attendance are smaller than Jethou, the Italian pair Good Job Guys and OPS5 and the rest of the field has a certain Italian flavour with another six ‘homegrown’ crews in attendance. Additional overseas presence is provided by Allsmoke (GBR), Arobas (FRA), Caol Ila (USA), Vertical Smile (DEN) and Whisper (IRL)

High and mighty

At the more powerful end of the scale, this year’s event boasts two magnificent and gigantic craft: Albert Buell’s 148-ft Saudade (GER) is an arm’s length larger than compatriot Hasso Plattner’s 147-ft Visione. They enjoyed a fascinating tussle last year. Meanwhile, competing for the first time is the F-class, one-design Firefly (NED), a 114-ft Supermaxi designed to perform in both heavy and light winds. She made her on-the-water debut at the recent Superyacht Cup in Palma, but has had little time to apply the lessons learnt, as Mark van Gelderen takes up: “We made some changes and improvements to the boat following the Superyacht Cup. No real training has taken place with the whole crew before our arrival in Porto Cervo, sothe three days leading up to the event will be used for training, crew work and sail testing.”

The Firefly crew is divided between those who will be competing in Sardinia for the first time and more experienced members, well-acquainted with the waters off Porto Cervo. “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is our first chance to line up with comparable boats and to see what Firefly is capable of,” continues van Gelderen, “we will not be 100%, as we need more sailing hours, but we will have a good idea of Firefly’s performance when the event is over. Besides that we will be enjoying the high level of sailing in one of the most beautiful waters of the world.”

Italian eyes will be cast on the brand-new 101-ft Comet Shadow (ITA), another Supermaxi competitor. Shadow, with a hull and deck designed for fast cruising, comprises twin cockpits, one for sail-control handling and the second for guests to relax. And, whilst her rigging is traditional stainless steel rod, her mast is a racier carbon-fibre structure.

The 100-ft sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is strong favourite to defend the Maxi crown - Photo Credit Esimit Europa 2

The 100-ft sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is strong favourite to defend the Maxi crown - Photo Credit Esimit Europa 2

The 100-ft Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is strong favourite to defend the Maxi crown. As owner Igor Simčič reveals, the yacht’s pan-European team have been studying hard for the event: “The crew have been getting ready for the Maxis by taking their time to discuss tactics and strategy together: the coastal races are all very specific and need proper preparation. We have carefully checked all courses, sea levels and weather specifics for this region. The crew went through all the list of competitors, analysing their strengths and weaknesses.” It is the sort of meticulous preparation that exemplifies Esimit Europa 2’s year of sustained success.

The Giraglia Rolex Cup line honours winners are already training in Porto Cervo. “The crew will be practicing specific manoeuvres and testing technical features that they might be using for the first time at this regatta,” continues Simčič, “a peculiar feature of racing in Porto Cervo is the wind, which is often very strong. In addition, the sea level varies very much and can thus be very tricky and even dangerous – that’s one of the main reasons why manoeuvres need to be very accurate and very fast.”

On The Agenda

Racing commences on Tuesday 6 September and concludes on Saturday 10 September. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, along with the IMA and title sponsor Rolex, will provide a lavish array of first class social events including Saturday’s final Prize Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup trophies and Rolex timepieces will be awarded.)

Giles Pearman

2011 Perini Navi Cup –Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon Wins – Final race cancelled

September 05, 2011

Porto Cervo, 4th September 2011. Light and unstable winds led to racing being abandoned on the final day of the Perini Navi Cup 2011. Participants had been looking forward to the final battle between the top three superyachts which were separated by just one point; however the final classification remained unvaried from yesterday with the  sailing yacht Maltese Falcon taking overall victory. The 54-metre charter yacht Parsifal III yacht was tied on points but took second place thanks to The Maltese Falcon having gained a bullet in the first race of the event. Third place went to the 56-metre superyacht superyacht Panthalassa.

2011 Perini Navi Cup –Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon Wins

2011 Perini Navi Cup –Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon Wins

“My thanks go to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and in particular the Commodore and all the people who made this event possible. Together with our partners and our team we were able to hold an event in which everyone participated with a sense of family. This reflects the spirit in which Perini Navi accompanies and assists its owners, not only building wonderful ships but also putting everyone aboard at ease, always ready to provide answers and solutions.” commented Giancarlo Ragnetti, MD of Perini Navi Group during the prize giving ceremony.

2011 Perini Navi Cup Prizegiving

2011 Perini Navi Cup Prizegiving

“The event was as spectacular as the ships,” said Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. “and the fact that a shipyard like Perini Navi returns to Porto Cervo every two years confirms the renown of our Club and our race course. We are very pleased that this event is one of the many important superyacht regattas that the YCCS organizes.”

Sailing yacht Heritage. Perini Navi Cup 2011. Photo Credit Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht Heritage. Perini Navi Cup 2011. Photo Credit Carlo Borlenghi

The following prizes were awarded during the closing ceremeny held in Piazza Azzurra:

•             Pommery award – Fair Play Award: Selene

•             Perini Navi Award – The best cocktail: Parsifal III, Heritage, Heritage M (ex aequo)

•             Quadrivio Sgr Trophy

o             The very first Perini Navi Captain: Adriano Canova (Principessa Vaivia)

o             The Best Charity Auction: Charterers John and Renee e l’Armatore del The Maltese Falcon

o             The yacht which traveled the furthest: Perseus

•             Axa Corporate Solutions Trophy- Race Day 2: Panthalassa (1st); Parsifal III (2nd); The Maltese Falcon (3rd)

•             Marina Yachting Trophy Race Day 1: The Maltese Falcon (1st); Parsifal III (2nd); Helios (3rd)

2011 Perini Navi Cup –Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon Victorious

2011 Perini Navi Cup –Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon Victorious

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s regatta calendar continues with the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship from tomorrow, 5th September to 10th September.

Overall Classification

Place Boat, Race 1, Race 2. Total Points

1 The Maltese Falcon, 1, 3. 4

2 Parsifal III, 2, 2. 4

3 Panthalassa, 4, 1. 5

Helios, 3, 7. 10

5 Perseus, 6, 4. 10

6 Principessa Vaivia, 7, 6. 13

7 Heritage, 5, 9. 14

8 Felicita West, 8, 8. 16

9 Fidelis, dnc 14, 5.19

10 Salute, 9, dnc 14. 23

11 Ohana, 10, dnf 14. 24

12 Heritage M, 11, dnf 14. 24

13 Selene, dnf 14, dnf 14. 28

Sailing yacht Parsifal III at the Perini Navi Cup 2011 - Photo Credit Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht Parsifal III at the Perini Navi Cup 2011 - Photo Credit Carlo Borlenghi

About YCCS

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda was founded in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in 1967 by current president H.H. the Aga Khan and a group of founder-members as a non-profit sporting association for fellow sailing enthusiasts. The YCCS is renowned for organizing international sailing events such as the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the Audi Sardinia Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup as well as World and European championships for top one-design fleets. In recent years the Club has focused on promoting new superyacht events such as the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, the Dubois Cup and the Perini Navi Cup. The Club has also promoted international challenges such as Azzurra – the first Italian challenger for the America’s Cup in 1983 which became a legendary Italian brand and was relaunched by the YCCS in 2009 with a victorious participation in the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Nice – participation in the Volvo Ocean Race with a two-boat campaign one of which had an all-female crew, and the motor yacht Destriero which to this day holds the transatlantic crossing record set in 1992. The YCCS continues to expand its activities and in 2011 is scheduled to open a winter base in Virgin Gorda, BVI where it already manages a new, purpose-built marina.

About Perini Navi

With a fleet of 51 yachts on the water- 50 sailing yachts and one motor yacht- the Perini Navi Group is the world leader in the design and construction of large sailing yachts. In 2007 the Group also began to build motor yachts with the brand name Picchiotti and the series name Vitruvius, thus re-launching the historic Picchiotti shipyard acquired in the early 1990′s. The Group is made up of the Perini Navi shipyard in Viareggio, founded in the 1980′s by Fabio Perini who invented and developed a revolutionary automatic sail control system. Another division of the Group is the Picchiotti shipyard in La Spezia where the Group constructs its motor yachts and concentrates most of it refitting work, and the Perini Istanbul shipyard in Yildiz, Turkey where its hulls and deck structures are produced. Perini Navi USA is a commercial division of the Group through whom owners of Perini Navi Group yachts can arrange charters and which also provides brokerage services for both new and previously owned Perini Navi Group yachts.

Sauter Carbon Offset Design DynaWing AC72 Schooner Catamaran – 34th America’s Cup

September 03, 2011

Sauter Carbon Offset Design presents the DynaWing AC72 Schooner rigged Catamaran, the 34th America’s Cup Challenger that could prove to be faster and certainly less prone to capsize than the Oracle 22 meter Racing Cat with a 40 meter Wingsail.

The DynaWing AC72 America’s Cup yacht employs a Schooner rig featuring a hybrid Wingmast and mainsail combination that delivers a dynamic range of power options from a full array of sails with Wingsail emulated efficiency, to a gradual reduction of all sails culminating in Wingmast reefing.

Sauter Carbon Offset Design DynaWing AC72 Schooner for the 34th America’s Cup Challenger Catamaran

Sauter Carbon Offset Design DynaWing AC72 Schooner for the 34th America’s Cup Challenger Catamaran

The  DynaWing AC72 catamaran adheres to the ruling design parameters of the AC72, the length, beam and a total sail area that includes a maximum of 2 wing segments.

DynaWing AC72 advantages when compared to the Oracle AC72 Wingsail Cat;

•    Under full power the DynaWing’s rig at the much lower height of 32 meters has the same sail area as the 40 meter Wingsail rig, but with a greatly reduced heeling moment.

•     The boom furling mainsails offer dynamic loading specifically aimed at tailoring the heeling moment when racing at high speeds in strong winds.

•     With a 4:1 aspect ratio each hybrid Wingmast retains the same level of efficiency under full load as a single 40 meter Wingsail. However when overpowered the hybrid Wingmast can shed the load while arriving at still higher aspect ratios .

•     Airflow through the full complement of Schooner sails can be further optimized via the adjustment of tandem hybrid Wingmasts.

•    The longitudinal mass of the vessel has a better distributed lower center of gravity which reduces the risk of pitch polling.

•    The AC72 DynaWing Schooner rig shown here weighs and costs about the same as the 40 meter Wingsail. As with all Schooner rigs there are variations to consider, however we see this design to be the simplest and most cost effective way of getting the power required.

•    The DynaWing AC72 Schooner rig is easier to transport, easier to erect and can be reefed rather than dismantled when moored.

•    The required technology employed in the design and construction of the DynaWing Schooner rig is readily available.

•    The DynaWing AC72 Schooner rig is applicable and compatible with the existing AC72 sail options.

AC72 DynaWing Challenger Oracle Comparison - Sauter Carbon Offset Design DynaWing AC72 Schooner for the 34th America’s Cup Challenger Catamaran

AC72 DynaWing Challenger Oracle Comparison - Sauter Carbon Offset Design DynaWing AC72 Schooner for the 34th America’s Cup Challenger Catamaran

With the same total sail area, the DynaWing AC72 will perform as well as the Oracle AC72 in light winds, but will achieve higher speeds with a greater margin of safety when pushing hard in the strong winds that make ideal racing conditions for spectators.

Richard Sauter head of design commented “The DynaWing AC72 Schooner truly reflects the sailing legacy that laid the foundation the America’s Cup is built upon. Employing the DynaWing Schooner rig the existing AC72 is transformed into a viable ocean going design that has significant relevance to yachting and the world at large as she points to the fact that hi-performance sailing vessels are the ultimate Eco-friendly Carbon Free ride”

DynaWing AC72 Head to Head Match Race 34th America's Cup Challenger

DynaWing AC72 Head to Head Match Race 34th America's Cup Challenger

DynaWing AC72 Yacht Specifications:

Length: 22m
Beam: 14m
Mast Height: 32m
Displacement: 5,700 –5,900kg
Sail area:2 Wingmasts 260 sqm total
Gennaker: 320 sqm+
Main & Gennaker: 580 sqm+

2011 Perini Navi Cup – First Day Update: Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon leading the overall classification

September 02, 2011

An exciting first day of the fourth edition of the Perini Navi Cup came to a close with The Maltese Falcon charter yacht leading the overall classification. The regatta, which sees the spectacular fleet of sailing yachts from the Perini Navi shipyard race off Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and is taking place from 1st through 4th September.

Maltese Falcon -  (2)

Maltese Falcon - (2)

“It was a great race” commented Chris Gartner, Captain of The Maltese Falcon, “and despite the light air it was a great start. We completed the course as quickly as we possibly could and the whole crew did a great job, it was a great team effort.”

2011 Perini Navi Cup - Maltese Falcon charter yacht leads after the first day's race in Porto Cervo, Sadinia

2011 Perini Navi Cup - Maltese Falcon charter yacht leads after the first day's race in Porto Cervo, Sadinia

Veteran America’s Cup sailor Dawn Riley, tactician aboard the 45-metre Helios – which has Suzy Leech as navigator – was also enthusiastic: “We came third today so it was a good result and we had a lot of fun; the sailing is always beautiful in Sardinia. At one point we had a pretty tight situation with Persifal III between two rocks which they won out in the end. Every single person on board helped out today so it truly was a team effort.”

Parsifal III - Cruising

Parsifal III - Cruising

The 13 sailing giants that took to the starting line off Porto Cervo followed a course of approximately 13 miles that took them through the strait between the mainland and Isole delle Bisce island before heading north to round Monaci island and heading homeward. A cloudy sky and 7 to 9 knots of easterly breeze which built to approximately 12 knots by the end of the race characterized this first day of the event.

Luxury charter yacht Parsifal III was the fastest yacht in real time, finishing in just over 1 hour and 41 minutes however the 53.8-metre hull moved to second place on corrected time.

The second day of racing is scheduled to start tomorrow at 12 midday. Owners and guests will take part in an on-board cocktail competition this evening from 7 p.m. while the busy social programme will continue tomorrow with the Rolex owners’ dinner at the YCCS Clubhouse.

Provisional Overall Classification

Place, Yacht

1 The Maltese Falcon

2 Parsifal III

3 Helios

4 Panthalassa

5 Heritage

6 Perseus

7 Principessa Vaivia

8 Felicita West

9 Salute

10 Ohana

11 Heritage M

NC Fidelis

NC Selene

Les Voiles de Saint Tropez 2011: Thirty years on: the ‘Nioulargue spirit” is honoured

September 02, 2011

Over four thousand crew are preparing to do battle from 24 September at the 13th edition of Les Voiles. They will be racing aboard three hundred of the finest futuristic yachts and the most elegant traditional yachts on the planet. The event will be run in the exceptional setting of the bay of Saint Tropez, bathed in light and swept by the lovely breeze of early autumn. The Société Nautique de Saint Tropez, which has presided over the organisation since 1999 with the close collaboration of the Town, wishes to honour the spirit of the event for this the thirtieth anniversary of the original Nioulargue: seamanship, fair play on the water and on shore, coloured by good humour and some brand new features, will all spice up what is set to be a remarkable edition.

Saint-Tropez France

Saint-Tropez France

The breath of the Nioulargue

“We’d like everyone to remember, or learn, how the Nioulargue came about” points out André Beaufils, President of the Société Nautique, “when in 1981, Patrice de Colmont demonstrated his familiar intuition in the creation of a no stakes regatta between a group of friends who had come together for the end of the summer, prior to the following sailing season.” Initially christened the “Club 55 Cup”, the event was contested by two boats, Ikra and Pride, both of which are scheduled to race in the Var region’s port some thirty years on! From these beginnings as a duel, the event adopted the name Nioulargue. Hailing from the Provençal “Nioulargo” – literally “Offshore nest”- after an area of shallow water situated 5 miles from the bay of Pampelonne and serving as a haven for the reproduction of numerous species of Mediterranean fish. It is also very interesting to note that it was this original race between a 12mJI classic and a modern racer which coloured the Nioulargue’s character. It went on to become Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, which is synonymous with getting together boats from the latest generation and those which have written the history of yachting on the same race zone.

Modern craft: more than 50 yachts measuring over 18 metres

Thirty years on from the original event, the success of the event’s formula has been unfailing!

Fleet at the start of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2010 - Photo credit Rolex Carlo Borlenghi.

Fleet at the start of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2010 - Photo credit Rolex Carlo Borlenghi.

Among the superyachts, the Wally Yachts have become a ‘trademark’ not to be ignored at Les Voiles over the past ten years or so. These prestigious craft, commonly manoeuvred by crews of 25, were created by Luca Bassani’s team and really create a stir both in port and on the water. This year all eyes will be on Inti (24 metres) – the former Indio – a title smasher at Palma Vela, which is likely to rank as favourite in the racing at Saint Tropez. Playing opposite her will be Magic Carpet 2 (28m80) – which is competing in her last season as we await the arrival of the very first Wally Cento (100 feet) on order for next year -, the giant sailing yacht Esense (44m) as well as Angel’s Share – the former Wally 130 – entirely revamped at the owner’s request and set to compete in Les Voiles in her new anthracite hull livery.

Wally 130 Sailing yacht Angel's Share - Credit Wally Yachts

Wally 130 Sailing yacht Angel's Share - Credit Wally Yachts

Among the most popular Maxis, the duel between Sojana (35m – Farr 115) and Rambler 100 (30m – Reichel Pugh) mid-Atlantic won’t unfortunately be echoed in Saint Tropez. Indeed the 100 footer skippered by Australian Mick Harvey unfortunately capsized mid-August, near the Fastnet Rock, having lost her keel. Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 will have to console herself by competing with the brand new Firefly, a Dutch 115 footer created by Hoek Design and built in 2011 at the Jachtbouw yard.

As regards the series boats, all the major French and overseas yards will be present at Les Voiles. Leading the way is Bénéteau, with thirty Firsts, including five First 45s of under three years of age, closely followed by Nautor Swan which is to have a new 90 footer on the start line this year in the form of sailing yacht Nefertiti. At Dufour meantime, the most recent craft is a French 45 footer, Cristeban. There’s also going to be some fierce battling among the Grand Soleils, X Yachts, Archambauds and Baltics, which each boast at least half a dozen entries.

Traditional craft: a record in excess of 115 boats expected

Among the traditional craft the major event in 2011 is unquestionably the arrival of Hispania. This gaff cutter features two unique qualities in that it is one of the most beautiful craft from the golden age of yachting to be designed by William Fife, as well as belonging to the ‘royal’ 15 m JI class. Built in 1909 on the order of HRH the King of Spain Alphonso XIII, this 23 metre long boat first enjoyed success during the numerous international races her owners had her compete in, whilst simultaneously enhancing the prestige of the Spanish regattas as major sights for the yachting world. However, her glorious past and her royal origins were to fade little by little, until such time as she sank into oblivion. Indeed she was used as a floating house in England for more than thirty years. She was in a pitiful state when she was found some 15 years ago in mud flats by the historian William Collier and Jonathan Syrett of Camper and Nicholson International. Thanks to the participation of the Real Fundacion Hispania, the cutter, whose hull was buried in mud and no longer had a keel, was transported to Fairlie Restorations on the Hamble River, England, which began the complete restoration of the hull prior to its transfer to the shipyards of Majorca. As a result Hispania will be at Les Voiles this year for the very first time and she’ll complete the Carré d’Or for the 15 m JIs as she does battle with the illustrious Tuiga from the Yacht Club de Monaco, Mariska and The Lady Anne. Three of these exceptional yachts** will notably form part of the first edition of the centenarians’ race organised in collaboration with the Société Nautique de Saint Tropez and the Yacht Club de Gstaad on Thursday 29 September.

Built in 1937 from Olin Stephens plans, Manitou (18m90) is a very elegant Marconi yawl, whose claim to fame was that she was used by John F. Kennedy during his presidency. Indeed the yacht even had the title “Floating White House”. Kitted out with all the lastest technologies of the time, she enabled the President of the United States to stay in touch with land during his sails along the western seaboard. Having continued her career as a training school, the boat underwent a thorough refit in 2010 and will be making her very first appearance in Les Voiles.

Another yawl, but a very rare gaff yawl this time, will also be present in the bay. Built in 1918 at the Nielsen yard in Denmark, Runa IV (10m73) cannot deny its Viking origins. This wooden racer with its long keel was saved from destruction in 2009 by Yves Carcelle, who brought her back from San Francisco to have her entirely restored at the Guip yard in Brest. Bruno Troublé, who followed the whole project, will be her skipper for Les Voiles de Saint Tropez where the boat’s characteristic outline – bowsprit and dolphin striker – won’t go unnoticed. It may even be that Elisabeth Meyer, the American owner who drove the restoration of Endeavour, will be aboard for some of the races in Saint Tropez.

Among the ‘newcomers’ we’re also keenly awaiting Skylark (16m), an elegant yawl designed by Stephens in 1937, which is a boat restored by Tara Getty, a descendant of the Getty dynasty. Other splendid restorations by her include the motor yacht Blue Bird as well as Palynodie II (12m), one of the first mainstays in the saga of racing yachts belonging to the famous Mayor of Marseille, Gaston Defferre.

Alongside the impressive number of representatives of varying sizes and types of boats retracing the metric measurement through history – around twenty in total from 6 M to 8 M, 10 M,12 M, 15 M, 19 M and 23 M, with gaff and Bermuda rigs -, connoisseurs will appreciate the presence of one of the very pretty fleet of six 30m2 craft. Indeed these ‘little’ boats span a dozen metres and are very sleek combined with a large sail area, which makes them particularly spectacular on the race course.

Also of note is the fact that Les Voiles will this year play host to a fleet of around twenty Tofinou 9m50s, the dayboats designed by Michel Joubert and built by the Latitude yard in Saint-Martin de Ré off La Rochelle. Given the sizeable fleet, they will enjoy their own courses and their own ranking.

* 4,240 is the number of participants as of 30 August 2011: 2,500 modern craft, 1,400 traditional craft, 200 Wallys and 150 Tofinous

**The Lady Anne dates back to 1912

Partners to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez



Sunday 25 and Monday 26 September: Reception and scrutineering
Sunday 25 September: arrival of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup from Cannes
Tuesday 27 September, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup), Friday 30 and Saturday 1 October Coastal course, 1st start 1200 hours

Saturday 24 September – Sunday 25: Reception and scrutineering
Monday 26, Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day), Friday 30 and Saturday 1 October: Coastal course, 1st start 1130 hours

General prize-giving for all
Sunday 2 October, from 1100 hours

Monday 3, Tuesday 4, Wednesday 5 October: Reception, launches and scrutineering
Thursday 6, Friday 7, Saturday 8: Racing in the bay
Saturday 8: prize-giving

Below is a selection of images of Wally Sailing Yachts currently in charter.

Go here to find out more about chartering Wally Yachts.

Nautor’s Swan Announces ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous Dates for March 2012

September 02, 2011

Nautors Swan is looking ahead to their Cruising Rendezvous Programme next year with the official release of dates for the 2012 ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous. This will be the 9th annual Caribbean based Rendezvous for the internationally renowned luxury sailing yacht manufacturer. Dates for 2012 are from the 12th through to the 17th March with the Rendezvous kicking off from the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands.

9th ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous, British Virgin Islands, 12 to 17 March 2011

9th ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous, British Virgin Islands, 12 to 17 March 2011

Six days of uninterrupted enjoyment based cruising is top priority within an agenda that is expected to attract Swan owners the world over. The Rendezvous style is the perfect opportunity to invite friends and family to get into the Swan Spirit and to experience the sheer joy of cruising in one of the most sought after yachting regions of the globe.

With four islands set to visit there will be plenty of sailing time for the committed yachter as well as ample down time to partake in wider water based activities. It is the ideal chance to try diving and snorkelling in pristine turquoise waters that are not only clear but warm to the touch.

Friendly competition is also an option within the Rendezvous family taking the form of low key dinghy racing and games of boules. Those preferring to rest privately and relax in the sunshine are also fully catered to within the programme.

Evening entertainment for guests aiming to absorb moonlit nights is not forgotten. Live music, casual dining and drinks parties are all set in stunning beach locations.

March is one of the driest months on the British Virgin Islands making it the perfect time of year for a Rendezvous. The trade winds offer a steady breeze which will take the Swan fleet calmly from island to island throughout the structured cruise and participants can relax safe in the knowledge that they are safe in the hands of the experienced Nautor’s Swan management.

Further details to be released shortly regarding the 2012 ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous.

See here for more info and images on Nautors Swan sailing yachts available for charter.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup returns for its 22nd edition in Porto Cervo

September 01, 2011

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup returns for its 22nd edition in Porto Cervo. The renowned regatta organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with partner Rolex will take place from 5th to 10th September when 46 of the world’s largest and most competitive maxi racing yachts are expected to do battle on the waters off Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda. Sixteen of the participating yachts will compete in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship 2011 which takes place within the traditional Maxi event.

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo.

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo.

The fleet of yachts, which range from 18 to 45 metres in length, will be divided into various divisions according to their size and technical characteristics and will race off Porto Cervo for five days, with no lay day scheduled this year. The Mini Maxi fleet (yachts from 18.29 to 24.08 metres) includes many strong candidates for the title of World Champion including Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2, winner of the title in 2010 and fresh from overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010. Photo Carlo BorlenghiRolex.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010. Photo Carlo BorlenghiRolex.

The remaining 30 maxi yachts racing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, which have an average length of approximately 30 metres, cover a vast spectrum of designs, models and technological solutions. From new launches such as the prototype for the new F-Class one-design sailing yacht Firefly, the Comet 100 Shadow and the classic Bermudian sloop charter yacht Annagine – all dated 2011 – to veteran competitors such as the 38-metre ketch Hetairos, launched in 1993 and winner of the Supermaxi division in 2010. Following last year’s victory in the Racing and Racing/Cruising division, Esimit Europa 2 owned by Igor Simčič will be looking to repeat their impressive debut performance. The 30 metre Reichel-Pugh sloop, which boasts a crew of top European sailors, recently took line honours in the 2011 Giraglia Rolex Cup.

As always a rich social programme has been organized for owners and crews including a welcome cocktail at the YCCS Clubhouse, a Rolex Gala Dinner and Crew Party and the closing prize giving on the Yacht Club’s Piazza Azzurra.

10th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe: 14th to 18th September, 2011

August 31, 2011

Whether in the harbour, ashore or at sea, the 80 boats expected for the 10th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe on 14 to 18 September are living proof that our maritime heritage is alive and well, and bears testimony to the Principality’s commitment to the values surrounding it. This year the Yacht Club de Monaco, a virtuoso when it comes to regattas and parties, has attracted an exceptional group of sailing yachts, vintage motoryachts and steam yachts with, for the first time, a fleet of Chris Craft heritage-inspired motorboats alongside the traditional Rivas.

Monaco Classic Week- La Belle Classe - Image credit to T Ameller

Monaco Classic Week- La Belle Classe - Image credit to T Ameller

1994 was the year when Monaco’s harbour hosted the inaugural motorboat meeting and another “landmark date in the history of yachting” when the Yacht Club de Monaco launched the Monaco Classic Week. This event commemorated the centenary of the first motorboat meeting and paid tribute to HSH Prince Albert II, then heir to the Monegasque throne, and his ten years as President of the Yacht Club. Its aim was also to demonstrate Monaco’s unwavering attachment to the sea. Unique of its kind, even then Monaco Classic Week had one over-riding objective: to unite the survivors of a golden age of yachting, large and small leisure crafts alike: motorboats, vintage steam yachts, motoryachts, and classic sailing yachts for at least a week in one harbour.


In total 80 vessels will be attending; a melange of motorboats, motoryachts and sailing boats, including newcomers from Chris Craft and Hacker Boats. Following the previous edition which celebrated one hundred years of the YCM’s flagship, Tuiga, this year will welcome around 50 of the world’s most prestigious boats to the Principality, this time to celebrate the centenary of the magnificent 38m gaff cutter Mariquita (1911).


This year Hispania (1908) will be sailing in Monaco for the first time. Having recently undergone a restoration, this 15 M IR which belonged to King Alphonse XIII of Spain is the sister-ship to Tuiga and recalls how crowned heads used to regularly compete in Monaco and on the Riviera in the golden age of yachting. Having been separated for nearly a century, the surviving four 15 M IR boats still sailing, out of a series of 19 designed by the superb draughtsman William Fife, will be here in Monaco for what promises to be an incredible reunion.

Monaco Classic Week 2009  Bruno Cocozza/YCM.

Monaco Classic Week 2009 Bruno Cocozza/YCM.


The regularity and manoeuvrability trials as well as the other events will be very similar to those held in 1904; the crew who most elegantly apply and respect the codes of naval etiquette will be judged by a panel including princesses and artists; and the chefs competition will underline the importance of living and eating well on board.

The races which will be timed and winners awarded timepieces by the famous watchmaker Hublot will see gaff cutters, sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners compete off the coast of Monaco.

A spectacle is guaranteed as, for the first time, the Race Committee plans to alternate the starts according to rig type, not rating.

With all these activities there will be little respite for the owners, skippers, captains and crews, although it is obvious they come here to enjoy themselves and in doing so offer everyone a unique spectacle. Other highlights include the prestigious “La Belle Classe” evening and the “Nuit du Yachting” hosted at the Oceanographic Museum when the coveted “Personnalité de la Mer prize is awarded.

A week of both tradition and yachting lifestyle, whilst strolling along the quay on the south side of Port Hercule you will step back in time, and marvel at the achievements of a bygone era which, through the patronage of a select few, have been given a new lease of life. At the foot of their passerelles will be around 15 vintage cars from the first Classic Lancia Torino to Monaco, a nod to this year’s centenary celebrations of the Monte-Carlo Rally.

Monaco Classic Week 2009 - Photo S Gattini

Monaco Classic Week 2009 - Photo Stefano Gattini

PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME 2011 (may be subject to change – 1st September 2011)

Wednesday 14 September: Day dedicated to the future generations

2.00pm                Sea outing for the Youth Section of the Sailing School (Mariquita, Tuiga…)

Thursday 15 September

10.30am-3.30pm Chefs Contest

1.00pm                Classic Yachts Regatta (start by rig type)

2.30pm-4.00pm   Poker Run (Chris Craft & Hacker Craft and vintage powerboats)

8.00pm                Crew Party (by invitation)

Friday 16 September

8.30am                 Start of the Classic Lancia Torino to Monaco Rally (historic car rally)

10.30am-noon     Dead reckoning navigation competition (motor-yacht)

1.00pm                Classic Yachts Regatta (start by rig type)

3.00pm-4.30pm   Maneuverability Trials (Chris Craft & Hacker Craft and vintage powerboats)

5.00pm                Stop and Go of the Classic Lancia Torino to Monaco Rally at the Place du Casino

5.30pm-5.45pm   Arrival of the Classic Lancia Torino to Monaco Rally on the Port

8.30pm                “La Belle Classe” gala dinner (by invitation)

Saturday 17 September: Celebration of the 10th edition of the Monaco Classic Week

10.00am               Sailing yachts Concours d’Elegance parade outside the port

1.00pm                Classic Yachts Owners Regatta (start by rig type)

2.00pm-4.00pm   Motoryachts and motorboats Concours d’Elegance parade

8.30pm                Nuit du Yachting evening at the Monaco Oceanographic Museum (by invitation)

Sunday 18 September

11.00am               Prize Giving (by invitation only)

2.00pm                Start of the“Trophée Grimaldi – La Belle Classe” race to Cannes

2011 Shipyard Cup: Sailing yacht Whisper Wins Overall

August 15, 2011

Hodgdon Yachts welcomed over 250 big boat racing sailors and their guests at the opening event of Shipyard Cup IX. In the relaxed Maine style, the Shipyard Cup final line-up included sailing yacht VIRAGO, (100′) S/Y ISOBEL (76′) superyacht CHRISTOPHER (150′) yacht WHITEHAWK (92) TENACIOUS sailing yacht (115′) sailing yacht WHISPER (116′) SUMURUN (94′) and S/Y SCHEHERAZADE (154′).

2011 Shipyard Cup: Sailing yacht Whisper Wins Overall - Photo by Billy Black

2011 Shipyard Cup: Sailing yacht Whisper Wins Overall - Photo by Billy Black

Race I on the 13th of August 2011. Results: it’s WHISPER!
Under a beautiful Maine sky and fair breezes the Shipyard Cup fleet saw a great day of sailing. After a one hour delay to let the breeze build to a pleasant 10-15kts, the staggered start spread the fleet out over 52 minutes. After 3 hours of racing on a delightful afternoon WHISPER grabbed top honours for the day with WHITEHAWK and SUMURUN not far behind. The finish offered a bit of excitement watching VIRAGO, SCHEHERAZADE and ISOBEL battle it out for 4th place with SCHEHERAZADE and VIRAGO exchanging leads several times in the closing meters to the finish. The final order of finishing was: WHSIPER (116′), WHITEHAWK(92′), SUMURUN(94′), VIRAGO(100′), SCHEHERAZADE(154′), ISOBEL(76′), TENACIOUS(115′), and CHRISTOPHER(150′).


When the Sunday breeze built to a solid 8-10kts, first gun at 13:00 gave the start to the second and final day of Shipyard Cup racing.  The staggered start saw some early strategy as Isobel followed by Whisper then Virago diverted from the track of the earlier starters in the hopes of finding a lift from the southern tip of Southport Island en route to the first turning mark.

By the time the fleet was headed for home the low cloud ceiling was reducing visibility and the air became very light. The first to emerge from the fog was yacht SCHEHERAZADE who led the fleet most of the way to top day 2 honors.   The crowd of spectators, including quite a number that worked on the SCHEHERAZADE build, could not have been happier to cheer the hometown favourite.

Hodgdon Yachts President, Tim Hodgdon added:  “This year’s Shipyard Cup was another fantastic event with an impressive fleet of world class sailing yachts.  It was incredible to witness WHITEHAWK racing SCHEHERAZADE, both vessels from the hand of Bruce King, both extraordinary sailboats.  WHITEHAWK probably the first large boat designed by Bruce at the beginning of his career, SCHEHERAZADE the last, with a tremendous portfolio in between.  The two boats are 30 years apart in design, of varying styling but with equally beautiful ketch sail plans.  These are two of the world’s most magnificent sailboats”.

Race Organizers announced next year’s Shipyard Cup is scheduled for 10-12 August 2012.

About Shipyard Cup
The Shipyard Cup began in 2002 with support from founding sponsors Hodgdon Yachts of East Boothbay, Maine and Boothbay Region Boatyard of Boothbay Harbor, Maine and today is a spectacular weekend long event showcasing the best of Maine and the Boothbay Region. With several billion dollars worth of boats competing for top honors, The Shipyard Cup like many other big boat races is held in the “Corinthian” tradition celebrating the “true spirit” of yachting.

About Hodgdon Yachts

Rooted in 200 years of boatbuilding tradition, the yard earned its way into the 21st Century with innovation. Today Hodgdon is a US leader in high tech composite construction while maintaining exceptional skills for world class traditional and modern interiors. This East Boothbay, Maine -USA Company’s diversification also includes high end superyacht interiors, custom sail and power superyacht construction, military and government contracting, superyacht refits and custom yacht tenders. Founded in 1816, Hodgdon is a fifth generation family run company still located in the heart of Maine’s famed Boothbay Region. New for 2011 is the launch of the Custom tender boats line and the annual Shipyard Cup with sailing superyachts 21 to 50 metres, (August 12-14 2011 Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Among some of Hodgdon’s more notable contributions to yachting in the last few decades are: ANTONISA (124’) SCHEHERAZADE (154’) AND LIBERTY (80’).